Both Vermont law and federal law prohibit discrimination or harassment on the basis of a person’s sex. The Vermont Fair Employment Practices Act expressly prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity as well as sex, and Title VII of the US Civil Rights Act of 1964 has been interpreted to include gender identity discrimination as a form of sex discrimination.
Sex discrimination is unfavorable treatment by an employer because a person is of a particular sex. This includes treatment based on conforming to, or failing to conform to, sex-based stereotypes, as well as sexual harassment.
Examples of sex discrimination may include:
- Requiring a worker to be of a certain sex to fill a position
- Paying workers differently based on their sex
- Promoting men to management positions before women with more seniority and experience
- Assigning preferable job duties to women and not to men
- Laying off women when men in the same position with similar experience or not as much seniority keep their jobs
- Making comments suggesting that a person cannot do their job because of their sex
Vermont and federal law expressly prohibit paying people differently based on sex. Vermont has several additional laws designed to help minimize pay disparities between men and women:
- Allowing employees to talk about how much they make and also to ask one another. Without wage transparency, people might never know if they’re being paid unfairly.
- Giving employees the ability to request flexible working arrangements without worry about being fired or otherwise retaliated against. As women still shoulder a disproportionate amount of family care obligations, flexibility can make the difference between being able to work full-time instead of part-time and can help reduce the additional decrease in wages that mothers often face.
- Prohibiting employers from asking potential employees for their salary history. Using past salary to determine future salary can perpetuate pay inequities, even unintentionally.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Workers who are pregnant or breastfeeding are entitled to workplace accommodations. See these resources for more information:
- Pregnancy Related Workplace Accommodations for Vermont Employees video
- Know Your Rights: Pregnancy Accommodations in Vermont, A Better Balance, July 2019
- EEOC Publication: Legal Rights for Pregnant Workers Under Federal Law
- EEOC Pregnancy Discrimination
- Helping Patients Deal with Pregnancy-Related Limitations and Restrictions at Work
- Vermont Workplaces Support Nursing Moms, State of Vermont publication, October 2014:
- Guide to the Rights of Breastfeeding Workers in Vermont, Vermont Breastfeeding Network/United States Breastfeeding Committee, July 2016
- Break Times for Nursing Mothers under the Fair Labor Standards Act, Fact Sheet #73, U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division, Revised April 2018
Additional resources about sex discrimination
- EEOC Sex Based Discrimination Resource Page
- Sex Discrimination at Work, Know Your Rights Guide, Equal Rights Advocates, March 2013
- Sex/Gender Discrimination, Workplace Fairness
If you believe you may be a victim of workplace harassment or discrimination on the basis of any legally protected category or categories, find more information: